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County to appeal judge’s order in Gypsum Resources case

Clark County will likely challenge a District Court judge’s decision in the ongoing litigation with Gypsum Resources to the state Supreme Court.

County commissioners voted Tuesday to authorize the district attorney’s office to file the petition, which will allow county attorneys to argue that the lower court judge wrongly denied a motion for summary judgment.

The Clark County district attorney’s office believes there is “sufficient legal basis” to challenge the court’s decision, according to a staff report.

County attorneys first filed the motion in February, arguing, among other claims, that Gypsum Resources does not have the right to sue on the grounds that the county violated the company’s right to develop the property above a certain density.

The county argues that the company had a “nonexistent property right” because county commissioners had not given final approval for the project. It also argued that a federal court’s ruling on the case last year determined that Gypsum Resources does not have the right to develop the property above the existing zoning density limits.

“Despite the federal court defeat, Gypsum still seeks judicial intervention to obtain approval of its starry-eyed development and receive by judicial fiat more property rights than it obtained when it bought the property,” the filing states.

District Court Judge Joanna Kishner denied the county’s motion for partial summary judgment in mid-April, partly because facts in the case are disputed. A motion for summary judgment requires that both parties agree this is no material issue of fact.

The judge’s order doesn’t apply to the entire case, which is expected to come before a jury trial starting in July.

The move is just the latest in a multiyear string of litigation stemming from a proposed housing development on Blue Diamond Hill.

Gypsum filed an initial application for the approximately 5,000 residential unit master-planned community in 2011, a plan that required federal approval for an access road and zoning changes for the land.

The planning stalled after a key measure for the development was voted down by county commissioners.

Lawyers filed a lawsuit against the county after Gypsum filed for bankruptcy in 2019.

U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro ruled in May 2023 that all federal claims against the county would be dismissed, ruling that Gypsum had no protected entitlement to a change in zoning for the property. She declined to rule on claims made by Gypsum related to state law.

Gypsum attorneys filed a similar lawsuit in District Court shortly after Navarro made her ruling. The attorneys argued that the county destroyed evidence and purposefully blocked the proposed housing project.

Attorneys for Gypsum Resources declined to comment. Lawyers for Clark County did not respond to requests for comment.

Contact Taylor R. Avery at TAvery@reviewjournal.com. Follow @travery98 on X.

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